Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) was author of Ubu Roi (1896) and Le SurmÔle (1902).

A.C. Evans' translations of Max Ernst and Olivier Messiaen are found elsewhere in this issue.


          Tapestries I (After and for Munthe)

Roses of fire, white voids of horror,
The three girls by a frozen wall
Stare-a-gleam at the grimoires;
And the spectres of their memories
Are evoked by the parquet flooring,
Against the wall of their white chemises,
Grasping fingers cast the shadows
Of talons like branches.

The black stove trembles gnawed
By the teeth of its death's head;
Silence goes crawling all around.
The black stove like a tower
Gives respite to three little warriors
Who open their bruised eyes.

Roses of fire, white voids of horror,
In their swanlike, long chemises
The three girls, by the cold wall
Where occult symbols leer, stand
Hands clasped in fear, opening
Their eyes like circular shields.


Vain, sallow vessel from which the soul has flown
Skull, turn a pleasing, indulgent face
Towards us, and smile with your crenellated mouth.
But you grieve for your flesh, your silver hair,

Your lips that uttered winged words.
And the hollow socket into which my gaze plunges,
Casket of shadow, and the sighing, and lonely ennui,
Clean like an empty horse box.

You are no more than clay and dead. Your white molars
Gleam against the dull tone of bone like luminous flames,
Like brass instruments polished by an assiduous flunky.

And, a heavy paperweight, high on the armoire,
The occiput crushes the grimoire's pages,
Against the vagrant wind you scowl, snarling.

La Princesse Mandragore

          Tapestries II (After and for Munthe)

With her golden wand, the Fairy
Has lead the pale princess
Into the stifling forest
Between heavy, folded shadows.
Barefoot treading on velvet moss
When at her command, the
Curves of her opal feet
Are encased in mules of iron.

And the dew drops drip
Over her tinsel robe
And the toadstools at her feet
Prostrate their penitential heads,
Rabbits bolt from their burrows,
Slugs, embers on a hearth
Full of muck and slime,
Raise their demon faces
To the triumphant old hag.

The princess remains upright
Like a tree where the sap pulses,
The princess stands rigid;
And fearful convulsions
Traverse her algid face
Straight hair thrusting into the sky.